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» August 30, 2006 «
One almond farmer says his crop will be down as much as 40 percent from normal. Another says he expects an averaged-sized harvest. And overall, the crop may be up as much as 15 percent. It's going to be that kind of a year in almond orchards. As harvest accelerates, observers report a lot of variability in the crop. But overall, almond production is expected to show great resilience from the frost and rains that plagued the trees this spring.
Unlike their counterparts in Hawaii, California's macadamia nut growers say they expect no problems finding markets for their crops. A number of farmers in San Diego County grow macadamias, most of which they sell directly to consumers at farmers' markets. They say they anticipate no marketing problems. In Hawaii, farmers report having trouble finding buyers for macadamias, after producing consecutive large crops.
The mint fields of the Klamath Basin are yielding better-than-average crops this summer. The area along the California-Oregon border is one of the top mint-growing regions in the nation. Most of the mint raised there is sold for oil, which can be used in gum or toothpaste. At least one farmer in the region raises mint for peppermint tea. Farmers say acreage devoted to mint is expanding every year, as farmers obtain contracts with manufacturers.
The very early date harvest has begun in the Coachella Valley. A few farmers pick green, Barhi-variety dates. The California Date Commission describes green dates as a small, niche market. The specialty harvest occurs during a short period in August, before the dates ripen and turn brown. People who have tasted green dates say they have a tart flavor similar to that of Granny Smith apples.Top